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School CP - September 2000

Corpun file 6088

The Bangkok Post, 13 September 2000


Teachers find caning ban a bruise to their egos

By Sirikul Bunnag

School caning is out from Nov 1.

Some teachers and parents are unhappy about an end to corporal punishment.

Teachers argue the ban, under amended Education Ministry regulations signed yesterday, would make students more aggressive.

Wanpen Intra, director of Wat Makutkasattiyaram School, said the ministry wanted to bring punishment in schools in line with Western standards.

Students would show no respect for teachers, she said.

Many teachers strongly opposed the change, which was made in favour of students.

Teachers could distance themselves from students for fear of being viewed negatively if they dared advise or punish them.

The ban is getting a mixed reaction from parents.

Nakhon Ong-artsamart, 46, said he supported the change. Caning was a form of violence which encouraged in students a sense of hatred.

Theerayuth Jirosmontri, 46, a student's parent, said the ban would make students more aggressive.

It was necessary for teachers to impose harsh punishment on students to remind them of their mistakes, he said.

However, Ekkachai Ong-artsamart, 11, a sixth grader and son of Mr Nakhon, said the ban was welcome news. Students did not want teachers to beat them for minor mistakes, he said.

© Copyright The Post Publishing Public Co., Ltd. 2000

Corpun file 6422

The Bangkok Post, 14 September 2000

Education/Corporal punishment

Psychologist stands against caning ban

Lenience can prove costly in the long run

By Sirikul Bunnag

The ban on corporal punishment to be imposed from Nov 1 could create long-term behavioural problems among students, Wallop Piyamanotham, a psychologist, said yesterday.

Teachers should be allowed to use their own discretion and consider punishment on the basis of reason, said the executive of Srinakarinwirot University Prasarnmitr's counselling centre.

Mr Wallop cited two case studies-one here and the other in the United States-to show that children become more aggressive without caning.

He said a 14-year-old Thai boy from a well-to-do family, who had never been caned, was expelled from 10 schools in two years because he was oblivious to social rules.

"Teaching requires strictness and mercy," said Mr Wallop. "More than 30 years ago, America banned caning in schools after parents brought assault actions against teachers.

"But years later, American youngsters have become more aggressive. Many quarrel, kill or became gangsters or anti-social in other ways," he said. "This is because they have been raised without caning."According to psychological theory, he said, caning can lead to an improvement in child behaviour at the age of seven as the child can feel pain from caning and remorse for causing pain to others.

Senator Wallop Tangkhananurak, a children's rights advocate, said before the ban on caning is enforced, the Education Ministry should create mechanisms to allow teachers to learn how to protect children's' rights and how to use psychological methods to deal with students' conduct.

Without such methods, teachers will find it difficult to find solutions to problems and may decide not to help students in trouble at all.

However, Education Minister Somsak Prisananantakul said the ministry will go ahead with the measure because concerned agencies had made careful consideration before endorsing the ban.

He believed beating was not a good method to improve behaviour as students would foster negative attitudes towards teachers.

© Copyright The Post Publishing Public Co., Ltd. 2000

Corpun file 6789


The Nation, Bangkok, 14 September 2000

Teachers fight for right to smack

By Kamolthip Bai-Ngern

Secondary school teachers opposed to a ban on corporal punishment yesterday demanded a public hearing on the new regulation.

Jarae Hongchaiphoom, a member of the Secondary School Executive Association of Thailand, said the ban would infringe on the rights of teachers, who were never consulted about the new regulation.

"I believe that more than 200,000 teachers in our association are dissatisfied with the new regulations," he said.

Jarae demanded a public hearing to allow teachers, school administrators and parents to speak out on the issue. He said Education Minister Somsak Prissananthakul lacked the authority to change the regulations without public input.

Jarae said he opposed the new regulation because its spirit was contrary to traditional Thai beliefs and practices.

"Tie your oxen and hit your children if you love them," he said, quoting a Thai proverb.

Somsak announced on Tuesday that beginning November 1, corporal punishment would be banned in all educational institutions.

Primary and junior secondary students will still be subject to reprimands, activity assignments and probation, while senior secondary students may also face suspension of up to seven days.

College and university students face the same punishments, plus expulsion.

Jarae said corporal punishment is needed to discipline students who refuse to heed teachers' reprimands. Without it, he said, some students would never learn to behave properly.

Some administrators yesterday expressed the same opinion, saying corporal punishment remains necessary.

Jian Thongnui, chief of Sarapad Chang Phra Nakorm College's administrative division, said his 20 years of experience had taught him that physical punishment helped control unruly students.

"As a teacher, I've never wanted to punish my students, but they can cause problems to the school and society if I cannot control them. I have to hit them in these cases," he said.

A teacher at Bodindecha 2 School, who asked not to be named, said some students would refuse to follow the rules without the threat of corporal punishment.

"Light punishment is no good for some children. Some illnesses can be cured by medication, but some others require operations. We must admit that although surgery is painful, it cures," he said.

Thong Juapetch, a teacher at Triam Udom Nomklao School, said the new regulation could backfire because some students would misbehave in the hope of being suspended so they wouldn't have to attend school.

Somsak said the decision to ban corporal punishment was made based on research conducted by academics and psychologists. However, he said he would repeal the ban if those opposed to it present enough reasonable arguments in favour of doing so. Nevertheless, he said teachers should realize that the rod does not create good people.

"I'm ready to make change in the rules if there are enough reasons," he said.

Chalor Kongsudjai, secretary-general of the Primary Education Commission, said most of the 400,000 primary teachers should be ready to abide by the new regulation.

"I think less than 10 teachers punish their students severely, and they must change their practices or they will get into trouble," he said.

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